Over the weekend, Larry Lessig penned a cogent argument for a common-sense reading of copyright law. The problem, he writes, is that in our attempts to quash peer-to-peer file-sharing (stealing), we're wreaking a huge amount of collateral damage on those that remix content. In other words, all piracy is not created equal. Some, like the remixers, should be protected by US Fair Use doctrine:
We are in the middle of something of a war here -- what some call "the copyright wars"; what the late Jack Valenti called his own "terrorist war," where the "terrorists" are apparently our kids. But if I asked you to shut your eyes and think about these "copyright wars," your mind would not likely run to artists like Girl Talk or creators like Stephanie Lenz. Peer-to-peer file sharing is the enemy in the "copyright wars." Kids "stealing" stuff with a computer is the target. The war is not about new forms of creativity, not about artists making new art.
Interestingly, Microsoft and Viacom may have already found one great way to manage this: charge for commercial use of their intellectual property, but not amateur use.